Welcome to my monthly blogging duel with TEAM UK’s Matthew Parker. If you have been following along you can skip right to the post… and if you are just joining us, here is some background…

Matthew and I haven’t always seen eye to eye when it comes to Print Buying. He comes from the UK procurement world, and I come from the USA agency world. We used to argue about process, but over the years it has turned into a mutual respect. However, that doesn’t mean we now agree, or see things the same way! As a matter of fact, most of the time we don’t. So we decided to turn that into Print Buying: #UKvUSA and share information about our experiences from both sides of the pond!

At the end of my post is a link to Matthew’s post on the same subject. We don’t know each other’s response until they are LIVE on our respective sites. Maybe we will agree, maybe we wont, maybe we don’t even see the question in the same way – who knows… that’s the fun part!

If you support one side over the other let us know. I am proudly representing TEAM USA, and we share these posts with #UKvUSA on Twitter. LET THE DUEL COMMENCE!

#UKvUSA: Does Your Teamwork, Work

Working in advertising production is a master class in teamwork. There are so many moving parts, and BIG personalities to manage. And although in many aspects you are responsible for your internal teams, in most cases they are formed by assignment, not by choice. You have to get along, you have to make it work, you have to do what you need to do to keep things moving and deliver for the agency and the clients – or you pay the price for failure.

Forming external teams, the partners and suppliers needed to help you execute and produce your work, is usually left up to production managers when clients and agency politics don’t interfere. The people/companies you work with you are choosing to work with, and these external teams must support, contribute to, and provide success for your projects. So how do you know if they are?

First and foremost, before you can assess if your external production teamwork works, you need to establish your goals. Some of your clients may be solely focused on cost, some may be focused on WOW, some may need a lot of small runs with quick turn-arounds, and so on. This means your partner resource bench must be deep, and everyone needs to play well with each other when they are called into the game.

Production mangers have a list of vetted suppliers to call upon, and they are not in the habit of messing with their teams UNLESS a new need arises or a parter lost their mind, didn’t deliver, and now needs to be replaced. When that happens, I can guarantee any printers reading this that we are not sitting around hoping to get a cold call from you to discuss our pain points. You may get VERY lucky and call at the right time, but if you have listened to any of my advice throughout this series about creating relationships with buyers, you have already established yourself as a resource, and are just waiting to be called up from the minor leagues. Congrats!

Circling back to the question at hand, defining what success means and measuring if it has been achieved should be an ongoing process. Goals may need to be refocused as technology improves, costs may need to fluctuate case-by-case to keep the overall spend where the client needs it to be, and new partners may push older ones out of the mix if they have more one-stop-shopping capabilities. As the team leader, this is all your responsibility, and every production manager out there has the tire marks on their back from being thrown under the agency bus when projects go astray. If you cannot defend your partners when things go wrong, they are not the right partners for you. That is the ultimate teamwork litmus test for me.

Next month Matthew and I have been invited to present at Jetcomm and Dscoop San Antonio and the topic is related to teamwork, which is why I am mentioning it here. If you are attending, please check out our session: Death to Color Matching and other tales from the Print Buyer Survey. Printers will learn a lot about what they don’t know about buyers – it will be informative, and yeah a little fun too. Yeeehaw!

See Matthew’s response here:

Print Buyers… join us on LinkedIn: Marketing and Advertising Print Production Managers and Print Buying ProsThis group is private and closed to all vendors and suppliers.

Everyone else, join us in Print Production Professionals and join in the conversations!

Deborah-Corn_PrintMediaCentrDeborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at PrintMediaCentr, a Print Buyerologist™, Integrated Marketer, Industry Speaker and Blogger, Cultivator of the Print Production Professionals Group, the #1 Print Group on LinkedIn, and host of the weekly industry #PrintChat on Twitter. She has more than 25 years experience working in advertising and marketing, and currently works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them to achieve success with their cross media and social media marketing endeavors.

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